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Parental leave for GPs

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When a GP takes parental leave, how does this impact them and the practice financially?  

GP Partners 

How much profit the partner is entitled to while on parental leave (maternity, paternity and adoption) and how the costs of any locums are allocated will depend on what is set out in the partnership agreement. Generally, the partner will continue to receive their usual profit share and be allocated with the locum costs incurred to cover their sessions less reimbursements received against these locum costs (see reimbursement for locum cover below). 

Partners taking leave usually have a reduction in profits and, therefore drawings. As a result, pension contributions and tax liabilities for that period are lower. Pension and tax estimates can be prepared to provide more certainty over the partner’s financial position. 

Salaried GPs 

Provided the GP meets the eligibility criteria, they are entitled to receive 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) at 90% of earnings for six weeks and £172.48 (from April 2023) or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks. This is the minimum that must be provided to a qualified salaried GP. 

Some employers will provide enhanced provisions and additional benefits where the salaried GP is employed under the BMA model salaried GP contract.   

The model contract entitles the GP to 12 months of maternity pay provided they have 12 months of continuous NHS service at the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth. Their pay will be: 

  • Full pay less any SMP or maternity allowance (MA) receivable for eight weeks 
  • 14 weeks at half pay plus SMP or MA, provided the total amount does not exceed full pay 
  • 17 weeks at SMP or MA (£172.48 per week for both). See our separate article covering maternity allowance.  

If a salaried GP has two jobs, then, provided they meet the eligibility criteria, SMP can be claimed on both roles. Maternity pay works independently on each role. 

There are also specific rules regarding shared parental leave and shared parental pay – guidance can be found on the BMA website. 

Trainee GPs also have different criteria for maternity pay. Again, guidance can be found on the BMA website. 

Reimbursement for locum cover 

Practices are entitled to reimbursement of the cost of a GP Locum to cover the parental leave of a GP partner or salaried GP. The maximum amount of locum reimbursement available is £1,143.06 for the first two weeks and £1,751.52 per week thereafter, or the actual costs, whichever is lower. The commissioning body can, however, use its discretion to reimburse more. 

The reimbursement can cover external locums and cover provided by existing GPs within the practice (both salaried GPs and partners) so long as they are not full-time (37.5 hours per week per BMA standard contract).  

All GMS practices are entitled to reimbursement of the cost of a GP Locum to cover the maternity period of a GP performer. 

For a PMS practice, similar benefits should be available in their contract. 

If you have any questions on the content in this article, please contact your usual BHP Healthcare contact.